Kansas City, Missouri…Monday morning, October 14th was much more than just an ordinary day at the Stephen’s House Child Care Centre in Kansas City, Missouri. The setting was one of anticipation. It was a cool, windy morning. The atmosphere was brisk. Invigorating. And light. Even the children knew that something exciting was a-foot; but they did not yet know, nor could they imagine the full extent of what was about to be unleashed.
Before they knew it, Madame Belle made her glorious appearance. A cow from France, the Jemima’s Playhouse lone female character entered singing her signature song. She sang. She danced. She sang. And she danced – right into the hearts of the students. The students and teachers were in awe! Such enthusiasm is normally reserved for the songs of pop Stars on the radio. But here they were, singing and dancing, dancing and singing – all together!
This was a unique phenomenon. And it was a rare occurrence. Madame Belle hardly made public appearances. But here she was, treating the students to a re-enactment of her story. Although they already knew the story of Madame Belle by heart, this was the first time that these students had seen a live performance.
And that is when it happened: the students spontaneously started to recite the story word-for-word along with Madame Belle. They knew the Madame Belle story by heart because it is a staple in the Jemima’s Playhouse curriculum. But to see such synergy on display was nothing less than a beauty to behold! And this was only occurring because Jemima’s Playhouse was taking the opportunity to publicly launch the “Madame Belle” story book.
You see, Madame Belle is a Legend in the eyes of the 1 million students visited each year by Jemima’s Playhouse in Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas. She has proven to be one of Jemima’s Playhouse most loved – and most enduring – characters. She came from humble beginnings. She did not always have the confidence that the students saw so readily on display. In fact, something happened which changed her life forever. Now, she is the epitome of beauty. Indeed, her name – Madame Belle – is “Mrs. Beautiful” in French. And by virtue of the response from the students and teachers, the Book Launch in Kansas City was timely; because she has a story to tell.
That morning, the students and teachers were treated to another very exciting surprise: Ms. Jemima, Founder and inspiration behind Jemima’s Playhouse, made a personal appearance! When asked to share her thoughts, Ms. Jemima said: “I am so pleased to see this energy level on display - not only by the students, but by the teachers, themselves! This is a powerful testimony to the tremendous impact of Jemima’s Playhouse in educating students while they have fun at the same time.”